When fledgling teacher Jamie Foley's husband decided 18 years ago he wanted to go to veterinary school at Ohio State University, she applied for openings at numerous Columbus City Schools.

She heard back from only one -- and she's been there ever since.

"I'm going to stay here," said Foley, the chairwoman of the English department and a teacher of English and humanities at Columbus Alternative High School. "They're going to have to roll me out of here."

U.S. News and World Report, in its annual ranking of high schools across the country, ranked Columbus Alternative No. 49 in Ohio, earning the school at 2632 McGuffey Road a silver medal.

Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

The accomplishment didn't shock Foley or Darryl C. Sanders, now in his fourth year as principal at the school.

"I'm not surprised that we continue to get that great honor," Sanders said, crediting teachers, students and their parents.

Columbus Alternative is not a lottery school, but draws students from throughout the district.

Some students would have been considered "outcasts" or "misfits" at other schools, but Columbus Alternative is about accepting people, Sanders said.

"CAHS has always been the school that celebrates diversity," he said. "This has been a safe haven for them."

"For me, personally, it's, 'Well, why don't we get a gold medal?' It's not a surprise. We work hard and the kids work hard. It's nice to get recognized for that."

"Our teachers go beyond the call of duty. They work ferociously to accelerate the progress of their students."

Columbus Alternative was among 143 of Ohio's 1,453 high schools to earn silver medals.

Centennial High School, ranked 133rd, was the only other one in Columbus City Schools.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1